Catha edulis (generic name)

treats Cognitive function
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Interactions with Drugs

Use khat cautiously in patients taking amoxicillin or ampicillin. Khat may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. These two antibiotics, particularly ampicillin, should be taken two hours after khat chewing.

Sympathomimetic effects of khat such as mydriasis (dilation of the pupil) and hypertension (high blood pressure) may be antagonized by antiadrenergic drugs including clonidine, reserpine, or terazosin.

Theoretically, khat may antagonize the effects of heart medications or blood pressure lowering agents. Khat has been reported to cause an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate.

Use cautiously in patients taking beta-blockers or tricyclic antidepressants. Theoretically, khat may increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects with these drugs.

Khat may cause central nervous system (CNS) stimulation and use with other CNS stimulants may lead to additive effects. Stimulant and amphetamine-like effects are likely due to the phenylalkylamine alkaloid cathinone.

Theoretically, concurrent use of khat with monoamine oxidase inhibitors may cause hypertensive (high blood pressure) crisis.

Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements

Khat may antagonize the effects of antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) herbs and supplements. Khat has been reported to cause an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Caution is advised.

Theoretically, concurrent use of khat with herbs with monoamine oxidase inhibitor-like activity may cause hypertensive (high blood pressure) crisis.

Theoretically, khat may increase the stimulant effects if taken with stimulant herbs and supplements, such as guarana or ephedra.


This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ( Erica Seamon, PharmD (Nova Southeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shannon Welch, PharmD (Northeastern University).


DISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

Adeoya-Osiguwa SA, Fraser LR. Cathine and norephedrine, both phenylpropanolamines, accelerate capacitation and then inhibit spontaneous acrosome loss. Hum.Reprod. 2005;20(1):198-207.

Al Motarreb AL Broadley KJ. Coronary and aortic vasoconstriction by cathinone, the active constituent of khat. Auton.Autacoid.Pharmacol 2003;23(5-6):319-326.

Al Motarreb A, Briancon S, Al Jaber N, et al. Khat chewing is a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction: a case-control study. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2005;59(5):574-581.

Al Zubairi A, Al Habori M, Al Geiry A. Effect of Catha edulis (khat) chewing on plasma lipid peroxidation. J.Ethnopharmacol. 2003;87(1):3-9.

Belhadj-Tahar H, Sadeg N. Methcathinone: a new postindustrial drug. Forensic Sci Int 10-4-2005;153(1):99-101.

Dimba EA, Gjertsen BT, Bredholt T, et al. Khat (Catha edulis)-induced apoptosis is inhibited by antagonists of caspase-1 and -8 in human leukaemia cells. Br.J.Cancer 11-1-2004;91(9):1726-1734.

Hassan NA, Gunaid AA, El Khally FM, et al. Khat chewing and arterial blood pressure. A randomized controlled clinical trial of alpha-1 and selective beta-1 adrenoceptor blockade. Saudi.Med J 2005;26(4):537-541.

Hassan NA, Gunaid AA, El Khally FM, et al. The effect of chewing Khat leaves on human mood. Saudi.Med.J. 2002;23(7):850-853.

Kassim S, Croucher R. Khat chewing amongst UK resident male Yemeni adults: an exploratory study. Int Dent.J 2006;56(2):97-101.

Kuczkowski KM. Herbal ecstasy: cardiovascular complications of khat chewing in pregnancy. Acta Anaesthesiol.Belg. 2005;56(1):19-21.

Murugan N, Burkhill G, Williams SG, et al. The effect of khat chewing on gallbladder motility in a group of volunteers. J.Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86(2-3):225-227.

Nasher AA, Qirbi AA, Ghafoor MA, et al. Khat chewing and bladder neck dysfunction. A randomized controlled trial of alpha 1-adrenergic blockade. Br.J.Urol. 1995;75(5):597-598.

Patel NB. Mechanism of action of cathinone: the active ingredient of khat (Catha edulis). East Afr.Med.J. 2000;77(6):329-332.

Toennes SW, Kauert GF. Driving under the influence of khat--alkaloid concentrations and observations in forensic cases. Forensic Sci.Int. 2-10-2004;140(1):85-90.

Toennes SW, Harder S, Schramm M, et al. Pharmacokinetics of cathinone, cathine and norephedrine after the chewing of khat leaves. Br.J.Clin.Pharmacol. 2003;56(1):125-130.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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